Wonderkid Gabadinho Mhango has said he was excited to score his first international goal in Saturday’s 2014 World Cup qualifier against Namibia’s Brave Warriors.

Gabadinho was thrown into service as a second-half substitute—replacing Atusaye Nyondo—and scored the priceless lone goal in the 70th minute that earned the Flames their maiden competitive win over Namibia.

The goal further boosted the Flames’ chances of qualifying for the final round of qualifiers with three games to wind up the campaign.

The Flames jointly top Group F with reigning African champions Nigeria with five points from three games, but the Super Eagles have the bragging rights, courtesy of goals scored.

“I am very excited to have scored my first international goal and I thank the Almighty God for making me realise my dream.

“I am even more excited, considering the significance of the win because it is the first time we have beaten Namibia in a competitive game,” said Gabadinho in a telephone interview from Windhoek Sunday night.

He also dedicated the win to caretaker coach Eddington Ng’onamo who lost his last-born son just a day before the game.

“We had to play for the coach, considering the circumstances. I also have to pay special tribute to our assistant coaches [Ernest Mtawali and Patrick Mabedi] for the inspirational role they played.

“When I was being thrown in, they advised me to relax and take on the Namibian defenders and it worked. Having played football at top level, the coaches handled the situation professionally.

“The win will give us confidence ahead of the remaining matches,” said Gabadinho.

However, the forward said he suffered a knock following a crude tackle by an opponent that has since affected the trials he was supposed to undergo with an undisclosed South African top club.

“As the game progressed, I was tackled by an opponent and it affected my game. I believe that had it not been for the injury, I could have scored another goal because I was determined,” he said.

But while Gabadinho could not shed more light on the imminent trials, Mabedi, who is believed to be facilitating the move, confirmed that the Big Bullets forward was set to stop over in Johannesburg.

“It is true, I had arranged trials for the boy with a top side in South Africa, but the knock he suffered means that we’ll have to wait until he recovers.

“I cannot disclose the name of the club at this point though, but once he recovers and we finalise arrangements with the concerned parties, he will definitely come,” said Mabedi.

But while Mabedi kept a tight lid on the identity of the club, it is believed that he has arranged trials for the red-hot 21-year-old forward at either Moroka Swallows or Kaizer Chiefs, the clubs that the Flames assistant coach played for in the Rainbow Nation.

Mtawali also showered praise on Gabadinho.

“The plan was to throw him in when the Namibians were tired so as to pile pressure on their defence which appeared tired and it worked.

“He [Gabadinho] is extremely difficult to mark when he has the ball on his feet and we advised him to penetrate,” said Mtawali.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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